If you need to catch up, previous entries are pt.1, pt.2, pt.3, pt.4 and pt.5. I neglected to post a photo of the finished black velvet shopping bag (4214) I was working on before. Black velvet never looks good in photos. Gal pal Sal used it in Albuquerque and said it was grand. It holds a lot of stuff.
A mention to those who said they wouldn’t buy a velvet bag because the pile can be easily crushed. I should have mentioned that crushing velvet comes with the territory in New Mexico. Here, velvet is used in more casual pieces rather than upscale like in other places. We have Native Americans to thank for the tradition. They bought velvet from traders and made it into broomstick skirts. I prefer velvet like this to the extent I had forgotten people use it any other way. Crushing the pile gives it a pretty sheen that velvet doesn’t normally have.
Anyway, after the test drive of 4214, I decided it was kind of a hassle to keep the handle folded with the lining tucked back in there (although I probably could have stitched it into place) so I recut the pattern into another block (4215) which I haven’t sewn because I don’t think I need to because I’m making yet more bag prototypes from it. The main modifications were halving the strap width and adding a leather facing to compensate for added structural integrity (previously, the strap had lining to finish it off). A third change was a different kind of pocket in the lining. Much easier than a patch pocket and no pressing required as with the welt pocket. See? My shop limitations are already paying off if I don’t have to iron. This pocket will open at the lining and facing seam line. I’ll photograph it later.
Having the new block, I made two more patterns neither of which I’ve sewn for two reasons. One, these are more complex and took longer to make than the ones I showed you before. These are more in line with the kind of design details I want. I just mention that so you see I’m working on the design paralysis thing. The second reason is, I need design advice. I’ve photographed the hides and need you to tell me which I should use, if any. For now, would you like to see the patterns? They’re pretty cool.
First is style no 4216 (right). It has three layers of leather, differing colors is the goal. A larger version of this file is here. What do you think of this one? Yes, it’s a lot of sewing and cutting. These are technically overlays rather than underlays. This red jacket I made is underlays by way of comparison. Speaking of, guess how they do this in the leather trades (bootmakers etc)? Believe it or not, they cut all those shapes out by hand, glue them (I’m shrieking) and then they stitch them down. Sheer insanity if you ask me when there’s much easier ways to do it.
The next pattern is style 4217, a larger version is here. I suppose I was inspired to piece this after seeing the East West Musical Company Smoke jacket. Like I asked before, is this homage or plagiarism? As far as leather colors on this one, I’m clueless. Half the time I want to do it in all one color like the Smoke jacket or I want to use many colors. I have nearly all of them. Ideas? I’d love some.
Speaking of colors with reference to the “Flame” bag (style 4216), I have two cool hides I’ve never known what to do with, a white and black embossed calf hide and a red and black one (shown below). Both are shiny. I’ve labeled each hide A-E. Again, there’s a larger photo so you can see these better. I think the flames are detail enough that solid colors are needed to break it up. I mean, the flame details would be lost if the two embossed calf leathers were stacked on top of each other. So, choices are red or black embossed with contrasts -or? Maybe just the two reds with one solid black or both blacks with solid red. The choices are endless. And even among the solid red and black, I have two choices, suede and grain (the red grain #D is redder than pictured). Both give a different effect. So, if you have any ideas to share, those would be much appreciated. Choices are the reason these hides have been in my stash since 1997. Heck, you can give the thumbs down to all of these. I have all kinds of colors. Yellow, orange and red would also be cool, don’t you think? Yellow hides could represent a replenishment problem, it’s a rare color, difficult to source and more expensive.